Evoking a Golden Age of American golf.
Within a span of a few months in 1912, three golfing legends were born: Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. The trio would transform the game of golf, bringing it greater popularity than ever before and paving the way for the sport’s mainstream acceptance in the United States. This “American Triumvirate” competed furiously against one another from the Great Depression through World War II and, at least as far as Hogan and Snead were concerned, well into the 1950s. At various time each man could stake a claim to being the world’s best golfer. In this triple biography, golf writer Dodson (A Son of the Game, 2010, etc.) explores the inevitably intertwined lives of these three giants, exploring their personal foibles and struggles as well as their golf careers, and he conjures a picture of how golf came into its own in the American sporting firmament. With crisp prose, the author captures the feel of mid-century America and the game of golf before an era of multimillion-dollar endorsement deals, unimaginable tournament purses and 24-hour global TV coverage. Indeed, Dodson clearly shows how Nelson, Hogan and Snead essentially created the world of golf as it exists today. Occasionally the author gets caught up in vague pronoun usage within the overlapping paths of his protagonists, and only true golf fans will find all of the blow-by-blow accounts of significant tournaments compelling. Nonetheless, the book is a fine example of sports history and popular American history.
There may well never be an American golfing trio to compare with Nelson, Snead and Hogan. Thanks to Dodson we now have a much better idea of why they were so vital to a sport that continues to simultaneously fascinate and vex millions of people across the country and the world.